In one of his first decisions as president-elect of the United States, Barack Obama has chosen a top House
Democrat and fellow Chicagoan to be his White House chief of staff.
With a reputation as a tough political fighter who isn’t afraid to get in people’s faces to get things done, U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel is likely to be enforcer and gatekeeper — and a mulitpurpose surrogate for the president whenever he needs to have his way but doesn’t want to be the bad guy.
Right now, Washington Republicans are singing a shrill tune to the effect that Emanuel represents an inappropriately partisan choice when Obama had said he wanted to govern from the center. Whatever. They know very well that one appointment isn’t an indicator of the tone of a whole presidency, and they understand that somebody in the White House needs to be the person who decides how business is conducted and who gets the president’s ear. They’re probably just angry they’ll have to go through a jerk they can’t stand in order to see the president. Besides, every leader needs his Luca Brasi (and speaking of Luca Brasi, Emanuel supposedly once mailed a dead fish to a former colleague after they parted ways).
This isn’t Emanuel’s first time around the 1600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, by the way. He was senior adviser to President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1998.